By winning two of their first three games, the players on the Highland Regional High School football team had gathered confidence in each other and in the program.
At the time, junior running back Fred Morrison didn’t look at the two wins as a fluke, but rather a sign that things had changed.
“We just have to keep working hard every day and believing, and the results will come,” Morrison said.
Two weeks later, the evidence speaks for itself.
Morrison and DeVante Parker fueled a dominant ground game once again, scoring a pair of touchdowns each in the Tartans’ 31-0 win over Gloucester Catholic Friday night.
Suddenly, a Tartans program that had just one win in two years is 4-1.
Morrison got the scoring started with a 37-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to give Highland a 7-0 lead after a successful point-after attempt. The Tartans' defense shutdown the Rams and got the ball right back to Morrison, who gave them a 13-0 lead with a 4-yard score. Mark Gillis added an 8-yard touchdown run as Highland went up 19-0 at the half.
In the second half it was Parker’s turn to reach the end zone. The speedy tailback put the game away with touchdown runs of 2 and 54 yards.
The Tartans – who have spent the last few years relegated as the third-best team in the Black Horse Pike Regional School District – are starting to get noticed these days. The Philadelphia Inquirer recently featured a piece on the Tartans after they recorded back-to-back comeback wins over Schalick and Pennsville.
“That doesn't happen in the past,” Highland coach Craig Stinson told the Inquirer of the comebacks. “These guys just don't quit. They fight the whole game."
Thanks to their turnaround, the Tartans are not only contenders in the West Jersey League Diamond Division, but also in Group 3, where they are currently a No. 2 seed.
Highland will look to keep the momentum going Friday when it hosts Cumberland.
TIMBER CREEK BOUNCES BACK: Timber Creek got back over the .500 mark with a 34-6 win over Moorestown. Bryce Shade was once again all over the field, scoring a pair of touchdowns, including a 46-yard run. Senior running back Khalil Pierce also had a big game, rushing for scores of 10 and 60 yards.
As dominant as the Chargers (3-2) were on the ground, they started things out in the air. Timber Creek quarterback Jagger Green found Adronis Jennings open for a 27-yard touchdown completion in the first quarter.
The Chargers led just 13-6 after three quarters, but broke the game open with a trio of scores in the fourth.
Timber Creek will look to make it two in a row on Friday, when it hosts Lenape.
TRITON DROPS ANOTHER: The Mustangs dropped their second straight to fall to 2-2. Triton fell behind to Kingsway in the first quarter and never recovered in a 24-13 loss Friday night.
Triton trailed 14-0 in the third quarter before running back Josh Woods put the Mustangs on the board with a 3-yard touchdown run. Kingsway answered back with 10 straight points, before the Mustangs’ Russ Urban found the end zone on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter.
The upcoming schedule does not get any easier for Triton, which travels to take on undefeated Williamstown Friday.